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The Riverside Group Limited (202110808)

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COMPLAINT 202110808

The Riverside Group Limited

21 October 2021

Our approach

What we can and cannot consider is called the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and is governed by the Housing Ombudsman Scheme. The Ombudsman must determine whether a complaint comes within their jurisdiction. The Ombudsman seeks to resolve disputes wherever possible but cannot investigate complaints that fall outside of this. 

In deciding whether a complaint falls within their jurisdiction, the Ombudsman will carefully consider all the evidence provided by the parties and the circumstances of the case.

The complaint

  1. The complaint is about an increase of service charges.

Determination (jurisdictional decision)

  1. When a complaint is brought to the Ombudsman, we must consider all the circumstances of the case as there are sometimes reasons why a complaint will not be investigated.
  2. After carefully considering all the evidence, I have determined that the complaint, as set out above, is not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Summary of events

  1. The resident made a complaint to the landlord about an increase of service charges, and the accuracy of information it had provided on how service charges would be apportioned for the new financial year.
  2. On 9 March 2021, the landlord provided its final response to the complaint about its failure to provide accurate costings for service charges and that service charges were set too high. It acknowledged its failure to provide accurate service charge costs in response to the resident’s initial request for information concerning this. It explained that service charges had been calculated in line with its service charge policy. And subsequent to the complaint, it had provided a revised statement to the resident accurately setting out service charges for the 2021/2022 period. In conclusion, the landlord acknowledged it was necessary to improve information and communication it provides to resident’s regarding service charge increases and agreed to review its process on this going forward.
  3. On 9 August 2021, a designated person referred the resident’s complaint to this Service. The resident subsequently wrote to us on 25 August 2021 setting out why they remained dissatisfied further to the landlord’s final response. They explained that over the last 12 years, the landlord had increased their service charges above the rate of inflation and had failed to provide adequate information regarding the increase. They also explained that service charge costs outlined in their 2021/2022 statement were set too high and, in some instances, they believe they were being overcharged for services such as window cleaning.


  1. The Housing Ombudsman Scheme sets out the types of complaints which the Ombudsman can and cannot consider.  Paragraph 39(g) of the Scheme states that the Ombudsman will not consider complaints, which; ‘concern the level of rent or service charge or the amount of the rent or service charge increase’.
  2. The Housing Ombudsman Service cannot consider this complaint because it concerns the increase of the service charge, and we are unable to make binding decisions about the amount or reasonableness of the service charge increase.
  3. The First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) is the appropriate body to consider whether the increase of service charge is reasonable and supported by the appropriate evidence. And it can make a binding decision about the level of the service charge and whether it is reasonable to increase it.
  4. This complaint is therefore outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to consider in accordance with paragraph 39 (g) of the Scheme. Details for the Tribunal are as follows:

The First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

10 Alfred Place





Telephone 0207 446 7700